Series: An 80's Kitchen DIY Reno- {Part 1: Before and After}

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

I'm approaching the one year mark of my kitchen renovation and the four year mark of moving to this home.  I still pinch myself everyday with how far it's come since we moved in. I thought I'd do a Kitchen Renovation Series over next few weeks and share the changes that were made, the challenges faced in modifying an older home, and the solutions that I came up with.  My hope is that if someone else is updating an older space and having some of the same dilemmas, it may give them some ideas.  

This was the kitchen shortly after we moved in 2016.  On the initial walk-thru I envisioned painting the cabinets white, removing that upper cabinet over the windows and replacing it with sconces and floating shelves, and replacing the appliances.  Living in the space, new ideas came to mind over time, like making the refrigerator built-in, enlarging the peninsula to make room for a microwave, and putting in a vent hood.   I felt these new ideas were outside of my skill set, so over the years I met with various carpenters and contractors.  Every time I was ready to move forward, something else would pop up and take priority.

Last year we had a water leak that left us with holes cut into the wall and ceiling, so we couldn't put off doing repairs any longer.  Ultimately, it was a contractor who canceled 2 days before work was to start that made me finally realize I could (or had to) do a lot of the work myself.  Nothing breeds determination like desperation!

When you look at the pic below what most dates this kitchen?  The wallpaper?  The cabinet color? The oven?

I saw a dated space with good bones that could be tweaked into a modern aesthetic.  These are the original cabinets and most of the original doors, original floors, and original windows.  One of the major things that updated them was replacing the two-piece doors with one solid door for the three upper cabinets.  Another thing that updated them was replacing the exposed hinges with hidden euro-hinges.  Finally painting the cabinets and adding new hardware finished bringing them up to date.

Four years after moving in, we've got almost everything done.  I just finished building the vent hood a little over a month ago. I still have dreams of installing floating shelves between the windows, but it will happen.  

The bulk of these updates were completed over the course of about three months last year, but there's so many things that happened over the years.  In this series I'm going to start at the beginning and talk about modifications that were made all along the way.

One thing I learned is that installers and contractors often have a way they are accustomed to doing things.  When you have ideas that are not the norm, they tend to push back and say it can't be done.  You have to have clear in your mind your vision for your space and be willing to come up with solutions when people feel like it can't be done.  Below are the changes that I'm going to cover in this series.  I'll update the list with links as each post is added.  If you have any questions or anything I'm leaving out, let me know!

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{An 80's Kitchen DIY Reno Series}


  1. So gorgeous! What a difference! I like that the range hood is a wood tone. It really pops against the cabinets and backsplash.

    1. Thank you, I appreciate that! I was drawn to the wood tone too. My husband was leaning toward white, but I figured I can always paint it later if I want, but it's much harder to go back to stain!

  2. Fantastic update! You did a great job creating a classic kitchen Melanie!!

  3. Absolutely beautiful!! Love the cabinet hardware...where did that come from?

    1. Thank-you! The hardware was from Pottery Barn, I'll add a link for it in the post!

  4. Simply...Amazing!